A young man in Massachusetts is being applauded across the internet after a picture of him helping an elderly man down the escalators at a mall went viral.
According to MassLive.com, Alonzo Johnson, 23, who hails from Springfield, Mass., came forward at the Holyoke Mall earlier this month after noticing an elderly man who was anxious about getting on the escalator, having been trapped on one before. Johnson kindly offered his arm and rode down the escalator with the 83-year-old.
A simple, small act, but one that caught the attention of Paula Accorsi Picard, who snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook:
A little redemption for the suffering human soul. The older man was paused at the top of an escalator and a few people started gathering waiting to get on. It was clear he was feeling unsure and this young man offered the simplest kindness: an out-reached arm and a “can I help you on, sir?” He quietly started to explain to the young man that he had gotten stuck on an escalator once and was a little scared. The young man gently offered an assurance, they looked at each other eye to eye for just a moment and the older man accepted his arm. Everyone else remained patient. So, so sweet to witness!
In about an hour, the evening news will air and we’ll be reminded of division, race wars, political mud-slinging, shootings and other heartaches. But today, violence, race, age, politics and other social lines were blurred and one person simply helped another.
The post has been shared hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook since then.
“This is something I’ve never dealt with before, and it’s so, like, humbling. But it’s a lot. But I’m embracing it. It’s something very unexpected. My family and I are constantly looking at the Facebook posts and seeing the attention,” Johnson told MassLive.com.
Johnson said he spoke with the elderly gentleman as they went down the escalator to take his mind off the situation, complimenting the man on his outfit.
“I told him—and he did, he looked very nice—I said, ‘You look nice,’” Johnson said.
“My mom is the reason for all of this. My mom always tells us to be nice and do the right thing; you never know who’s watching. It’s really the way I was brought up and how I was raised,” the young man added.
Read more at MassLive.com.